CanucksArmy Prospect Profile 2015: #19 Nikita Tryamkin


Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg defenseman Nikita Tryamkin, a third-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, is a giant of a man (he stands 6-foot-7) with tools to burn and a lot of learning to do. 

The Russian-born defender was drafted in his second draft eligible season and as a non-scoring defender, carries significant risk in his projection. He also appears to be a long, long way away from committing to leaving Russia and coming overseas to pursue his professional hockey career in North America.

The ultimate wild card in our prospect profile series, Tryamkin checks in at #19 on our list.

Tryamkin, 20, is listed at 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, so he’s a very big boy. Talking to some industry sources there is uniform praise for his overall level of skill with a particular focus on his skating ability. That praise though is generally couched in a “for his size” qualifier, but still, the projectable physical tools are undeniable. Tryamkin is a big, physical defenseman with decent wheels and some snarl.

In terms of his overall performance, Tryamkin’s development was pretty flat in his age-20 campaign. Playing for a mid-table Avtomobilist club, Tryamkin started the year out regularly playing 19 and even 20 minutes, but by the end of the year had clearly fallen down the depth chart. Though he dressed in all five of Avtomobilist’s playoff games, Tryamkin only played about six-and-a-half minutes in a tight elimination game, a testament to his coaches appraisal of his skill level.

In addition to his nose diving ice time, Tryamkin produced less offense this season (by one assist) in more games – so his offensive production plateaued as well. He once again spent a short stretch of games in the MHL and that level produced better than a point per game.

Finally there’s the signing issue. Tryamkin is on the final year of his KHL deal, but expressed a willingness this week to extend that contract. 

That the big stay-at-home defender may be tough to sign is understandable for a variety of intuitive reasons. For example, unless Tryamkin is guaranteed a spot on an NHL roster,  which won’t happen, he’d probably earn more in the KHL than he would cashing in an AHL salary on an entry-level contract. The Canucks have a few years yet to work on Tryamkin before losing his exclusive rights, so this isn’t an urgent issue, but there’s a greater than normal level of risk that he’ll never come over to North America, which should factor into our assessment of his likely future value to the club.

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Here’s the 2014/15 Tryamkin highlight reel from Canucks Prospects’ youtube channel:

  • Spiel

    “He’d probably earn more in the KHL than he would cashing in an AHL salary on an entry-level contract”

    This is not the slam dunk that it used to be. The Ruble has plummeted against the USD and the KHL has cut its salary cap.

  • Spiel

    I’m still high on the potential of last year’s draft but the lack of growth in Tryamkin and Virtanen over the past year is pretty disappointing. At least Virtanen had injury issues/recovery as an excuse. Any excuses for Tryamkin? ‘Cause if he has another year like last year then I’m pretty skeptical of his NHL upside

  • Spiel

    I am in no way saying that Tryamkin is going to be good or make the NHL, if he even comes over from Russia. But at some point these prospect predictions have to look beyond point production or save percentage or whatever else functions as a proxy as the only real way of gauging prospect potential.

    He was a 20 year old playing in an advanced pro league and saw his ice time diminish significantly as the season wore on and into the playoffs. He’s clearly nowhere near elite but that doesn’t make him a washout, any more than Vey producing at pretty respectable first-year clip should garner him the level of hate that he seems to have generated.

    I thought the point of having cohort comparisons was to see what a similar peer group looked like as ONE proxy for possible growth. And I think it’s a good one. But I think there’s too many assumptions that this (or point production) is the only measure that will tell us whether a player will be good or not. The knock on Virtanen his draft year (besides not being named Nylander or Ehlers) was that he scored a lot of goals but had no playmaking skills. This year on a shortened season he (seemingly) rounds out his game with more assists and now he’s totally disappointing for not going above a PPG level. This is asinine. By these metrics everyone should’ve given up on Chara because of his negligible point production and terrible plus minus his first years on Long Island.

    There are so many things that go into prospect development — if you’re going to do a series like this that’s going to be evidence-based, at the very least use your own PCS model or provide some better context than you’ve given. Tryamkin only scored 6 points — but the team’s leading scorer only had 30 in 60 games and their leading D had 23. They sound a lot worse than middling. Did Tryamkin get pushed down the lineup when they traded for a veteran D in Loginov? What is the coaching for D-men like in Avtomobilist? Are other 20-year-old defenseman outscoring Tryamkin in the KHL?

    I have no idea the answers to these or any other questions that might help to actually figure out if the Canucks have a player here. But then I’m also not writing a blog that purports to give some kind of evidence-based analysis of their prospect pool.

    • Spiel

      The Canucks Army writers opinions on prospects are pretty easy to anticipate.

      Lots of points = good prospect.
      Smallish player with some points = OK prospect.
      Not a lot of points = suspect.
      Fighting majors or penalty minutes (regardless of points) = should have drafted anyone else, waste of a contract.

    • Smithertime

      With the exception of that first goal. I too will throw in a qualifier, but for a big guy, that was a nice move (even if the shot was lucky to squeak through).

  • Spiel

    So why are you repeating the crap from a few days ago, desparate for an article. Drance do you know anything about the economics in Russia, and particular for the city that he plays in. I doubt it. The KHL in general is in a downturn and will not be paying big bucks much longer. Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago pointed out that the oligarchs who run Russia’s economy and almost all the KHL teams, are valued at around 20% of what they were three years ago. The issue, oil, the driving force of their economy. It is low and will fall even more if Iran no nukes deal goes through (likely). So the kid is saying oh sure, I will stay here if they offer me a contract, why would he say anything else. You turn this standard line for kids into oh he may be hard to sign. Every kid with plenty of leagues to play in will be hard to sign. Stick to evaluating purely on the basis of skills and the reports of professional scouts. I also have noticed your bias as bloggers for flashy numbers. Very weak analysis. I think this kid has a 10% chance of being a fifth or sixth dman for the Canucks in about 4-5 years.